Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has reminded priests from the country’s capital to refrain from accepting invitations to celebrate Masses at political events so as not to convey “mixed messages” to the faithful.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (RCAM) has issued a memorandum circular addressed to “all parish priests in the Archdiocese of Manila” to discuss several points that need to be kept in mind as the Philippines enter the election season.
He called on priests to avoid any action that would seem that the Church is favoring any political candidate or party, which could eventually be an issue against the non-partisan stand of the religion.
“As pastors and spiritual guides we are called upon to be ministers of unity and harmony. Thus we call attention to certain practices that are best avoided so as not to bring about discord and misunderstandings in the community and society,” the Cardinal said.
The archbishop also reminded local Church leaders to discourage politicians from organizing community baptisms, mass weddings, and other similar celebrations, as using such activities for personal gain could harm the sacredness of the sacraments.
“We encourage you to be more discerning in seeking assistance or favors from politicians so as not to endanger the integrity of the Church’s teaching and moral stance,” Tagle said.
Moreover, the 58-year-old Church leader has also pointed out a standing policy of the archdiocese that states that lay liturgical ministers who seek public office should leave their ministry upon the filing of their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) in order to avoid possible abuses that may occur during their appearances in public liturgical celebrations.
“The Eucharist is the source and sign of unity. Its celebration cannot be seen as favoring or endorsing particular political candidates, organizations or parties,” he said; adding that the Church should help the country move towards “good governance, human development and lasting peace.”